Last American

Last American

 

The boy was quick, the boy was small.

In my dreams, he crawled under the shells.

As he was torn, his father flailed around him;

I shot up, I could not stand the vision.

 

“Oh my friend, oh my friend,” you whispered.

“Not a dream but half asleep, the broadcast.

The flickering blue, the news, 

the truth:

the news is broken 

but the vision was real.”

 

One of these days, I’m gonna take my skin down

One of these days, I’m may learn my meditation

One of these days, I’ll get myself collected

stand up in your aisles, give away your endings

In my boots you cannot stop me,

the last American

 

Yitzhak Rabin took the slugs; I had a dream:

buck-naked, I floated over that scene.

The blood he shed, it took shape of dove;

the dove came to life and lighted on my shoulder.

 

Wrapped in mist, I floated there still.

Around me closed circles of gulls.

The dove took flight and flapped them to the boundaries,

crying, “Don’t you touch him, dirtbags.”

And in his eyes I saw my father.

 

One of these days, I’m gonna take my skin down

One of these days, I’m may learn my meditation

One of these days, I’ll get myself collected

stand up in your aisles, give away your endings

And in my boots you cannot stop me,

the last American

 

So, if you’ve got a son, then push him down.

This is not the kind of town you walk around in.

There are walls, when it gets dark we hunker down.

It used to be a mosque, a shopping mall.

Now, it’s dripping, weeping concrete.

 

This is not the holy land you seek.

Though the pamphlets says it’s right beneath your feet,

it is really in our hands and rubber rifles; 

sympathy has flood tides like the Nile —

the temple stones are John-Wayne ammunition.

 

So, maybe it is not what it has seemed,

though it floats there, all liquid, on your screen,

and you thrash as if in your own dream

while they deliver it to you like milk.

 

One of these days, I’m gonna take my skin down

One of these days, I’m may learn my meditation

One of these days, I’ll get myself collected

stand up in your aisles, give away your endings

And in my boots you cannot stop me (stop me)

the last American

the last American

the last American

the last American

the last American

 

 (Life Underwater Music, 2001)

James O'Brien